TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
March 19, 2005
Recently we had a little girl who we had to turn away from the orphanage because she was found to be HIV positive and we do not have the means to care for her here. She and her mother are now back living together, as the mother’s health has slightly improved allowing her to be released from the hospital. I keep tabs on this little one, as she has deeply touched my heart. Her mother asked me the other day if I would sponsor her daughter at her kindergarten graduation. Kindergarten graduations are a big deal in Haiti. The celebration followd three years of education at ages 3, 4 and 5. I count it a privilege to sponsor this little one on such a special occasion!
Another HUGE blessing has come our way! A team from the States arrived to evaluate the needs for a feeding program at our schools. A visit was made to 5 of our schools. To accomplish that goal, we had to travel up the mountains to where three of these schools are located. It was a journey over neck-jerking, teeth-clamping roads. At one point, two tires of our four wheel drive rent-a-car went off the road and embedded us there for over one hour. With the help of the entire neighborhood, we were freed in time to journey on to our next stop. (The car rental places in the states would have gone crazy if a vehicle was rented for such a purpose as ours.)
As we visited schools, it was the team’s job to access the degree of need. Some of the team members would go child to child, greeting them and shaking their hands. This gesture had a two-fold purpose – one to greet the children, two to search for cold hands. Along with the reddish hair, the distended bellies, the skin and bones limbs, cold hands are also a sign of malnutrition. Several little cold hands were found. Another team member surveyed the children about whether they had had anything to eat last night, this morning, and whether it was enough. Time after time the answer “No!” came up to these questions. When a child answered “Yes!” as to whether they had something to eat, when pressed further for information about what it was they had to eat, the answer came as “A banana!”
As we went from child to child, I could not help to look into the eyes of these precious children. I was thinking about back at home where one would never find these numbers of children in a school with such a lack of food. I thought of my own daughter. We were never so poor that we had to send her to bed with nothing to eat or having to send her to school with only a banana in her belly. Tears welled in my eyes as these little ones simply smiled back at me. Smiling because they were happy that we came and smiling because they had the opportunity to go to school. One little boy in particular tucked at my heart. This particular little one was crying. I was able to capture him in a photo (shown below), with a tear still lingering on his cheek. A precious child of our Lord and Savior!
Please pray for the team, while they discern what schools will become a part of the feeding program. The need is great, the resources are limited and thus, only a few schools will be chosen for the program initially. Pray for the Haitian staff here that will administer the program. It requires an unfamiliar reporting process. It requires giving food to some children and not to others. It requires monthly visits to these hard-to-get-to locations. This entire process needs to be handled with prayer!
Another joy has occurred at the orphanage!!! We have two new little boys, bringing the count at the orphanages to 24. The boys’ names are Ivenson and Cazimy. Both children are from the small village of Gran Plaine on the island of Il-a-Vache, located just off the coast by Les Cayes. The villages on this island have no electricity and no indoor plumbing. These little ones worshipped in a grass-thatched church on the side of the mountain. Imagine their surprise when they went to church in Les Cayes for the first time. They were amazed at the light bulbs and the electric fans and the keyboard. When the other orphans were dozing off to sleep, these little ones were “all eyes”. They could not take in all of the new things that they were seeing for the first time. A ride in the school bus, for a beach outing for the kids of the orphanage, brought more new sights and experiences for these little boys. More than likely they had never ridden in a “machine” before. They had never been to the beach “just for fun!” It was incredible to watch their wide-eyed wonderment! They trembled in the water, but came back for more! They ate huge plates of beans and rice! They played ball with the other boys! They found it impossible to fall asleep on the way home, unlike all of the other tuckered out children. What a joyous day!
Our staff at the orphanage also continues to grow. All of those little ones make for more meals to prepare, more clothes to be hand washed, more tears to dry, more noses to wipe, and more braiding of hair. Please keep all of the staff (and all the children) of the orphanage in your prayers. We are entrusted to raising these precious ones to be future workers in the Kingdom!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic
Until next time ………….